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A publisher wants to destigmatize retractions. Here’s how – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 15, 2019
 

It’s no secret that retractions have a stigma, which is very likely part of why authors often resist the move — even when honest error is involved. There have been at least a few proposals to change the nomenclature for some retractions over the years, from turning them into “amendments” to a new taxonomy.

Erica Boxheimer, data integrity analyst at EMBO Press, and Bernd Pulverer, chief editor of The EMBO Journal and head of scientific publications for the Press, have suggested a related solution, which builds on a 2015 proposal:

We proposed to use the term “withdrawal” instead of the canonical “retraction” for an author‐initiated retraction based on “honest mistakes”. We are now using the terms “retraction” and “withdrawal” as formally distinct content types across EMBO Press in the hope that “withdrawal” attracts less stigma and encourages self‐correction. 

Read the rest of this interview and discussion piece

Personality and fatal diseases: Revisiting a scientific scandal (Papers: Anthony J Pelosi | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 14, 2019
 

Abstract
During the 1980s and 1990s, Hans J Eysenck conducted a programme of research into the causes, prevention and treatment of fatal diseases in collaboration with one of his protégés, Ronald Grossarth-Maticek. This led to what must be the most astonishing series of findings ever published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature with effect sizes that have never otherwise been encounterered in biomedical research. This article outlines just some of these reported findings and signposts readers to extremely serious scientific and ethical criticisms that were published almost three decades ago. Confidential internal documents that have become available as a result of litigation against tobacco companies provide additional insights into this work. It is suggested that this research programme has led to one of the worst scientific scandals of all time. A call is made for a long overdue formal inquiry.

Keywords
cancer epidemiology, personality and cancer, personality and heart disease, research ethics, research misconduct

Pelosi, A. J. (2019). Personality and fatal diseases: Revisiting a scientific scandal. Journal of Health Psychology, 24(4), 421–439. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105318822045
Publisher (Open Access): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1359105318822045

(US) NIH must better protect research from foreign influence, federal watchdog says – STAT (Lev Facher | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 13, 2019
 

WASHINGTON — Foreign governments and corporations could profit from American academic institutions’ failure to safeguard taxpayer-funded biomedical research, according to a set of new reports from a federal watchdog.

Even though this is a US centric item, its points about institution conflicts of interest and overseas funding are very relevant to Australasia.  It also makes some good comments about pharmacology research.

The reports, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, show that 54% of research institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health — some 1,013 universities and academic centers — failed to publish financial conflict-of-interest policies online. In 2018, according to the report, the NIH conducted just three audits to determine grantee institutions’ own efforts to safeguard their research — down from 28 in 2012.
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“The concern, generally speaking, is whether financial interests threaten or distort the use of NIH funds for their intended research purpose or the results of that scientific research,” Erin Bliss, an assistant HHS inspector general, said in an interview. “There are also concerns around the diversion of intellectual property, which could be an economic or a national security risk, and the potential for distortion or inappropriate influence of funding decisions.”
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(Australia) Unauthorised survey asked students to rate Chinese people out of seven – Sydney Morning Herald (Nick Bonyhady | September 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on October 13, 2019
 

An unauthorised survey delivered to students at the University of Sydney under the university’s official logo asked them to rate the attractiveness and intelligence of Chinese people out of seven.

It is interesting this story doesn’t mention the National Statement (2007 updated 2018), the Australian Code (2018) or research misconduct though this may be encapsulated by the reference to suspension and investigation. The reported questions raise concerns as to the merit of the work, respect, justice and the troubling spectre of the alt-right.

The survey was delivered by both paid and volunteer pollsters to students voting in student representative council elections at the university this week. It claimed to be “approved in principle by the University of Sydney’s ethics committee” and “endorsed by the political science department.”
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A University of Sydney spokeswoman said the university had “very strong concerns” about the content of the survey, which it was not aware of until contacted by the Herald on Wednesday, and how it was delivered.
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“An initial inquiry indicates ethics approval was not obtained for the study and our logo has been used without permission,” the spokeswoman said. “We are formally contacting the staff and student involved today to advise them the matter may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.”
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